The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 11, 2014

Career Coach: Innovation is a necessity for a company to survive, thrive

Innovation is one of the most popular words being used in businesses today. As Alex Triantis, dean of the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, remarked during his keynote at the school's recent annual summit, "Innovation is an essential building block for prosperity and survival."

While he pointed out the importance of innovation for a company's future, he also noted that turning new ideas into financial success is not easy. There are many impediments, such as corporate strategy, culture, organizational processes and misaligned incentives.

Indeed, John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and well-known author on change, notes that at least 70 percent of new efforts fail.

So how can you improve the odds your innovation will be a success?

-- Have a clear role for senior leaders

For anything to be truly successful in a company, there must be top management support. Being able to get buy-in from the board and senior management is vital for the successful creation and delivery of innovative products and services. A recent Fortune magazine article on the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders" pointed to how Alan Mulally, as the chief executive of Ford Motor Co., saved the automaker by changing its "risk-averse, reality-denying, CYA-based culture."

Similarly, retired Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. noted that leaders have to be able to "see around corners" and see something significant about the future that others don't see. This is critical as environments are increasingly described as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Joe Taylor, chief executive of Panasonic, describes innovation as being able to adapt to the markets needs and demands. The market has changed profoundly from the industrial revolution to now. "How quickly can you can adapt?" is how he defines innovation. Top leaders have to be champions of innovation by what they say and what they do.

Text Only
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video